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Mixed Ability -- Question

(10 Posts)
Scout19075 Tue 17-Jun-14 10:54:45

For those who go down a semi-structured path and use work books, etc., how do you handle mixed abilities versus what's expected in the book? SmallBoy loves "doing work" such as the various CBeebies magazines and fun children's "workbooks" I bought last time I was in the States. He's starting to read (he has some sight words and is getting better at decoding using phonics he's learned from Alphablocks) and can write his letters and numbers. However, I can't (and don't!) force him to write (he's not even Reception age yet so I can't see the point in forcing it -- he does it when he wants to). He does, however, find the CBeebies magazines too easy (he will write in those very happily/easily/quickly -- just don't ask him to color!). He wants more challenging "work" (and has the mental skills and knowledge that wouldn't be covered until much older) but can't write in those tiny little lines in workbooks yet (though some of those books for pre-schoolers and YR/Y1 kids have tiny lines, too, which I just don't understand!).

So really, do I do the workbook activities with him and leave the books blank? Write down his answers to show him how to do it? Encourage him to copy what I've written? All of the above? None of the above? He loves the books and the activities (but will sometimes switch off if he thinks I'm going to force him to write or color, even though I've never done either).

I was chatting with MrScout about it last night and his response was to "do more writing." I gave him a hmm face and said that wasn't helpful because there is no forcing SB to do it (and that at "preschool age" I wasn't prepared to do that anyway).

What do other people do?

IncognitoErgoSum Tue 17-Jun-14 13:35:06

What does SB want to do? I'd expect him to go for a mix - sometimes you writing, sometimes not writing in the book at all, sometimes him doing it. If he wants to do it but there isn't enough space, give him paper with appropriately spaced lines (you can create a document yourself and print a few when you need them - then the lines can get closer and fainter as he gets more competent.

Scout19075 Tue 17-Jun-14 22:52:07

Thanks, Incognito. I didn't think of giving him a separate paper to try if he wants to. He rarely asks me to write -- he'll just moan that he won't write until I either insist (I usually just insist when I'm trying to get him to sign a card or thank you note -- he's known how to spell/write his name for ages and family love receiving cards/notes that he's dictated and signed), give up or offer to do it for him.

Do you think it will look weird in his books, though, my writing? (I know we don't have to let the LEA in/see his work, etc., but I'm all for keeping it polite and keeping documentation in case the wind changes and we "have" to.) I always date his projects so I guess I could date his books/activities and make a note about "dictated" or something. It just feels weird but SB wants to do more than he's physically able to so I want to feed his thirst for knowledge/books/activities that he can put on display (our kitchen is a gallery for SB's art/projects and work).

IncognitoErgoSum Wed 18-Jun-14 10:15:53

I don't think it will look weird at all. In fact, if you forget about the LA and other externals (you can be polite without showing work), he might quite like it later when he looks and can say, "Oh, remember when I couldn't write these answers but now I can".

HE has a major advantage in allowing DC to work an intellectual level greater than their ability to decode text or to write. I read "grown-up" books (e.g. Narnia and Jostein Gaarder) to DC for years before they could have them themselves.

Tinuviel Wed 18-Jun-14 16:58:37

We had this issue, particularly with maths stuff, with DS1. His mathematical ability far outstripped his ability to write (and still does - his handwriting is awful!) We just did all the activities orally/I wrote the answers. Some books I left until he could write, by which time the work was too easy and he was bored doing them!

I seem to remember Schofield and Sims books having enough space to write but that could have been when he was a little older. At that age we definitely used Letterland and I seem to remember a Thomas the Tank book and something with Winnie the Pooh (possibly pre-writing skills like drawing a line along a path and the paths got increasingly 'wiggly').

Scout19075 Mon 23-Jun-14 13:09:25

I realized a long time ago that I come across as either bragging or hot housing SB when I tell people about his knowledge and/or interests so I tend not to any more. But his desire for more is apparent to those that really know him. I'm going to go ahead and go through the science and math books with him and let him dictate the answers to me. A lot in the science books I have I can make project based (little writing, lots of cutting/gluing & sticking) because he likes projects to display and show Daddy and grandparents (even if it's via photos).

We have a Letterland write & wipe book which he likes but gets bored with because in his mind he can write the letters so why do it over and over and over on the same page. I also have a tablet of the "ice cream paper" from home (similar to an Oxford Tree pad I saw at WHSmith this weekend) but he's not interested in the lines yet so I've tucked that away for now.

For now, though, we're spending the afternoon at a deserted playground near MrScout's office (20 miles from our house so a novel and exciting playground) enjoying the summer while it's here!

Tinuviel Mon 23-Jun-14 13:32:04

These have lots of cutting and sticking. Mine were older when we used a couple of them but they are good fun.

Tinuviel Mon 23-Jun-14 13:33:23

OK, that link took you to the website but not the specific resource. They are under science in the catalogue and called 'Great Science Adventure'. We did landforms (physical geography) and the one on atoms/elements.

Scout19075 Mon 23-Jun-14 14:33:51

Thanks, Tinuviel, I'll have a look at home tonight. SB is very much a science boy. He woke me up at 6 a.m. wanting to discuss bacteria and which planets it might be found on and why you won't find it on the sun. hmm. BTW, he knew the answers, he just wanted a discussion. Me, on the other hand, just wanted to sleep.

Scout19075 Mon 23-Jun-14 14:42:44

Me? Bah! I.

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